Floating Farm???

Discussion in 'Farming and Gardening' started by Dalewick, Aug 24, 2019.

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  1. Dalewick

    Dalewick Master Survivalist
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    Float dome.jpg

    I have been thinking about this since the first time I saw it. A floating greenhouse that you could use for aquaponics, hydroponics or just simple gardening. If I had to leave my home after a TEOTWAWKI that would leave the land unlivable, my thought was could I build these on a navigable water way from salvaged and traded materials. I have the blueprints for the structure and actual construction wouldn't be hard with hand tools, but how to move it. Let a rivers current carry it? Hook it to a boat? There would be a lot of options off of this idea for living and food production, especially in southern areas. Could it be defended? Would it survive maritime storms? How about raising chickens, ducks, etc. on similar caged platforms. What are it's possibilities?

    Dale
     
  2. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard ! Staff Member
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    The possibilities are numerous, defend-ability is limited.
     
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  3. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    Good morning Dale,

    After a TEOTWAWKI, the navigable waterways (and some others) will be magnified "critical infrastructure" areas. Thus, max restrictions on private sector/private citizen use.

    Your idea does have value although for the specifics posed;

    "defended?": No.
    "maritime status": No.

    If, prior to TEOTW, like today ... actually better to say 8 November 2020 ... I'd recommend surfing around the Maritime Administration's ("MARAD") Maritime Subsidy Board, the folks who give subsidies for ocean going oil rigs. The surfing around would be for history because the MSB deals with a cartel.

    Ag production after TEOTW - depends on the disaster recovery and what the political establishment wants to do.
     
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  4. Snyper

    Snyper Master Survivalist
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    I see no advantages to it at all.
     
  5. lonewolf

    lonewolf Legendary Survivalist Staff Member
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    I don't know, on a calm river or on a canal I can see the possibilities.
     
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  6. duke in wales

    duke in wales Expert Member
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    I love the concept but doubt the size would provide a lot of food.
     
  7. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    Good morning Duke in Wales,

    Excellent point.

    The political establishment might want all available labor allocated to other economic activities.

    Even a small fish farm or oyster bed - still government-subsidized here - produces much less food value than the public subsidies to maintain the road to the waterborne facility.
     
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  8. duke in wales

    duke in wales Expert Member
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    We have an extensive canal system in the UK and longboats are very popular. A lot of owners grow things on them, the flat roofs are perfect for square foot gardening I suppose, again you won't grow a significant proportion of your needs however, the canals are long and you could do some 'commando gardening' inland from the canal banks; plant root vegetables etc.
     
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  9. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    Good morning Duke in Wales,

    If "'commando gardening' inland" could occur, would not non-gardeners who(m) attempt to mimic commando skills with the stealth, have free grocery stores ?

    There must be a reason the UK has an extensive canal system and I'm sure in a post-disaster world HM government would max out use of the canals to the detriment of the long boat citizens.
     
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  10. duke in wales

    duke in wales Expert Member
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    Commando gardening, better know as guerrilla gardening happens even now. When I'm out in the woods I'll plant things like spare garlic, potatoes sort of thing. The link to canals was just me thinking, park up in a quiet spot miles from villages, move inland maybe 100m and plant then move on. In our woods we've planted things like strawberries and tomato bushes. The strawberries have done really well and are spreading out year on year, the tomatoes are more hit and miss, garlic, thyme, rosemary all do well year on year.

    The canals came about for the need for transporting bulk goods during the industrial revolution, dug by thousands of mainly Irishmen known as 'navvys' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navvy The growth of the railway network in the UK superseded the canals which in many places later became unusable. These days much of the canal network has been restored and is very popular in tourism, longboats are popular and can be very expensive.

    No point whatsoever in the government even trying to use the canals, its a very slow method of transport, (4 mph max) and its no longer extensive while the road system is extensive...remember we are a small island.
     
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  11. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    Good afternoon Duke in Wales,

    A reminder: You know (I hope !) I try to tailor my scribbling to specific reader if applicable. You have the substantive background to understand my points.

    In a disaster or emergency with evacuations, the river bank products might be shared with others. Here: no sharing. This place has changed.

    I'm familiar with the canals and the follow-on railroads. Also know about the predominantly British Suez Canal (1869. 1975).

    Last para; 4 mph for a bulk cargo is RAPID compared to dealing with the extensive road system that's blocked.

    "Small" is a relative and subjective term. My preference is water hauls when practical. Even without canal use, there's the coastal route. Forget Northern Ireland; they can emigrate to the States. Won't address the islands, Orkney, Shetlands, Channel. They're in decent shape....relatively speaking.
     
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  12. duke in wales

    duke in wales Expert Member
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    No, the canals are very shallow, very narrow, your held up using locks to move to higher or lower levels. I 'heard' lots of government planning one way or another, some quite bizzare but not heard of canals being used...who's to say what will happen.
     
  13. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    There are a lot of places that have a lot of natural lakes and the idea of living on the water is not something new. One of the big advantages of it are that you don't have to try and protect your crops from as many types of poachers. I have seen deer wipe out a 25-acre pea patch overnight and you wouldn't BELIEVE what a bunch of hogs can do to a garden. This sort of thing will also allow for unlimited water supplies and the yield of something like this is a lot bigger than a similar dirt and field-based farm. I had a friend that had organic greenhouses. in about one acre of greenhouse with soilless growing and constant automatic feeding and watering he could grow more tomatoes that a 25-acre patch and they were bigger. better and the bugs and birds didn't eat any of them.

    Along with the crops that you grew in this floating greenhouse you could also probably harvest a lot of fish. I can imagine this sort of thing being very attractive to fish. You could live in or beside your floating garden and have a lot of security from random thieves.

    Some people in the past took this idea to a rather wonderful extreme and still live on their floating manmade Island gardens today. They are made completely out of reed mats and have been occupied for hundreds if not thousands of years.
    https://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/10/floating-islands-of-lake-titicaca.html

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  14. duke in wales

    duke in wales Expert Member
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    Deer are causing big problems up in Scotland, IIRC around 80,000 (could be more) are culled each year but its not enough, and shooting deer is licensed apart from Muntjac deer (which are good eating and on the increase here in Wales) so not simply a matter of driving up north and hunting...politics and tree huggers etc.
     
  15. Dalewick

    Dalewick Master Survivalist
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    Thanks, For many of the rivers and lakes here in the US I could see people coming together for something like this. After TEOTW in my area there would be lots of river barges that could be used to start floating islands and using a combination of greenhouses and barges could provide the needed protection (barges are at least 3/4 inch steel) , shelter and food. The river locks would be a complication as further downstream travel wouldn't be possible without the locks being cleared of debris and the locks and dams backup generators being fixed to function. Fish production would be pretty simple as open water aquaculture eliminates many of the problems with high density fish culture. In the barges themselves, you could actually raise grain crops (wheat, corn, oats) and more as the soil could be brought in and fertility managed. Many years ago, on the C&O Canal the canal workers often lived in a barge (wooden) and kept there animals with them. Those barges were way smaller than todays so I'm thinking as long as the correct ratio of herbivore to grazing is maintained, livestock shouldn't be a problem.
     
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  16. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    Notice how much the ladybugs are enjoying this hydroponically grown agricultural product.

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    The amount of electricity to grow the above must be a whopper. DEA locates such farms with helo-borne infra-red.
     
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  17. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    Have access to mountain stream? One that has constant flow and that can be tapped a tiny amount without harm?

    Too I'm thinking roof run-off / rain barrel. Studies have shown that water from roofs does not have sufficient chemical content to do any harm whatsoever to water headed for agricultural use.

    On the more practical / legal side:

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  18. Dalewick

    Dalewick Master Survivalist
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    Old Geezer, Modern grow lights only produce a fraction of the heat that the old style did. There are LED grow lights now.

    I don't know about where you are but here in WV, the state police and sheriff's dept. annually do sweeps for marijuana. They us helicopters and a device called a sniffer. It detects certain chemical elements in the air that are produced by growing marijuana. Detections still have to be ground proofed (seen) and there are restrictions as a couple other plants produce similar chemicals when growing (like tomato's).

    Simple infrared signatures are not enough to get a search warrant with, (at least not in WV). and many of the growers here got smart and started growing on federal or state land. Even caught a couple using pots and paracord to grow there plants in the tops of trees on federal land.

    Dale
     
  19. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard ! Staff Member
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    Traditional farming is all horizontal and requires a large amount of land to feed a family. Combined vertical and horizontal farming can and does produce a lot more produce in a much smaller foot print. I like the floating island garden concept but it would be hard to defend against two legged predators and almost impossible to conceal. The floating garden does have appeal for it's defense against four legged plant pirates.
     
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  20. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    Lady Bugs are great in a garden and especially good in a greenhouse. That friend of mine with the big greenhouses bought Ladybugs and they replace insecticides for keeping the aphids and such from eating the leaves. This allowed his produce to be sold as organic to the fancy stores at a much higher price than he could sell just regular tomatoes. A lot of his tomatoes were as big as a softball and tasted fantastic. They were never touched by herbicides or pesticides. They were fed hydroponically at the roots.

    https://www.arbico-organics.com/category/ladybugs
     
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  21. duke in wales

    duke in wales Expert Member
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    Organic food is often over priced, certainly for fruit and vegetables and there is not difference in food value between and organic carrot and one grown in the soil and fed non organic fertilizers .

    At the moment the EU don't recognise any hydroponic produce as organic.
     
  22. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    I've read about using ladybugs for aphid control. Great idea, hope it is working.

    Man, how I wish we'd find some natural enemies for the honey bee hive mites.

    https://carolinahoneybees.com/finding-varroa-mite-treatment-bees/
     
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  23. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    One of the problems that honey bees have that most people don't know is that they are not native to the US. Before the Europeans came and brought them there were no bees and no all the earthworms we have today originated from Europe. the Africanizdbee mess was an effort to make our honey bees hardier and more productive. Not having evolved here they have problems with some of the natural predators that wouldn't probably bother a wild natural version of bee that had been here for thousands or millions of years instead of hundreds. At first, the Pilgrims nearly starved to death in part because their plants wouldn't set fruit and the soil wasn't what the European plants were adjusted to. They also had problems with all manner of vitinum deficiencies because they didn't know what of the native plants that they could and NEEDED to eat.
     
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  24. Dalewick

    Dalewick Master Survivalist
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    TexDanm, That's not correct. The America's had many native bee's, just not ones that produced honey like the European honey bee, There is approximately 4000 species of bees native to the Americas, including such common bees as the bumble bee, mason bees, carpenter bees to the little Perdita's.

    There was 76 species of earthworms native to the America's before Europeans arrived, The majority of the species (40 +), were primarily in the eastern US. A common native species in my area are referred to as red wigglers. They are nowhere near as big as European worms, commonly referred to as night crawlers. My degree didn't require entomology but the professors made sure we knew what the native species were.

    Dale
     
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  25. Dalewick

    Dalewick Master Survivalist
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    If you garden and have problems with insect pest that have a grub stage, do yourself a favor and get Nematodes. They are a super small type of parasitic worm that really gets rid of grubs. I had been having trouble with squash beetles (also called stink bugs), and potato beetles. I spread Nematodes in my garden and they got rid of at least 98% of my insect pest. Made me feel like dancing! Now if I can just get rid of late season powdery mildew in my cucumbers, squash and pumpkins.

    Dale
     
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  26. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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  27. The Innkeeper

    The Innkeeper Master Survivalist
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    Interesting idea but wouldn’t fly up this way because all the lakes and rivers freeze. I guess you would have to keep a lookout for pirates. Security aside it has some potential.
     
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  28. Dalewick

    Dalewick Master Survivalist
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    Nematodes are AWESOME! My parents had ducks when I was a kid. That they would eat slugs and every other bug in the garden and yard, always amazed me.

    Dale
     
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  29. Dalewick

    Dalewick Master Survivalist
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    Everyone's comments got me to thinking. Why couldn't you take a modern barge and cover it either with plastic or glass as a greenhouse, with the protection of steel walls. I know there pretty deep, so adding growing medium wouldn't be a problem and a windmill could be erected to move water where needed. I know that even when abandoned they float forever when empty. Not sure how well they would deal with thick ice like up north. Trying to think of downsides. Any ideas?

    Dale
     
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  30. Dalewick

    Dalewick Master Survivalist
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    8060a1b4300d75eb7363b28342e0d39d.jpg

    The designers vision of future use of the floating greenhouses.

    PS_greenhouse_the_science_barge.jpg

    A greenhouse barge built (I believe) by the National Geographic Society in New York City Harbor.
     
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  31. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    Good morning Dale,

    A modern barge is a relatively big capital investment. The operating costs are high - even if stationary.

    The barge venture will produce a negative R.O.I. - a negative return on investment. If feasible, it's cheaper, safer and faster to import the food or obtain from out of the area.

    Yes, they float forever - - - and also get tossed around during adverse weather such as gale force winds and hurricane winds in the Chesapeake Bay. When this happens and the tossed barge beaches on some area, or bangs into shoreline improvements or bridges, this city or county has salvage costs. Barges are not welcome because of this liability to the political subdivision.

    The permits and licensing alone are $$$. The required insurance, even without the additional barge owner's insurance, have large costs. Am not even addressing added steel walls. Twenty years ago a small rotary steel ditch-digger wheel for a tractor's PTO cost $50K.

    The picture of the barge in NY harbor is super. Conceptually: a great idea. National Geographic Society and the NYC government (nearly went into bankruptcy in 1975) exist because of national taxpayer funds. The venture just cannot self-liquidate because of the costs in our socialist mercantile economy.

    Hate to go negative with great ideas for a market economy.
     
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  32. Morgan101

    Morgan101 Master Survivalist
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    Dalewick: I think the idea certainly has merit. How large or how mobile you want to make the structure would be your choice. Making it larger, and maybe a little more defensible might limit you to what waterways you want to use. I never thought about a long term self sustaining structure, but I have definitely thought of using the inland waterways as a bug out highway; even using a canoe.
     
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  33. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    Good morning Morgan,

    One of my options to evacuate is on to the Chesapeake Bay and then "wait it out" on a rigid inflatable.

    Regarding our inland waterways, the Intercoastal Waterway, from Maine to Texas, has been neglects it's no longer 12 ft deep the entire route. This affects the commercial and industrial users but not others.

    Plans to rehab are pending. One of our emergency responder guys retired from the Army Corps of Engineers (civil service status) as the Captain of a dredger boat of some type. There will be a rehab of the Intercoastal Waterway.

    Your plans to GOOD via a water route are a good idea.
     
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  34. Dalewick

    Dalewick Master Survivalist
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    Pragmatist. I think I specified this would be for after the end of the world type scenario. I live in WV and after such an event if something happened that I couldn't stay put in my mountain home, I would be using the rivers to E&E the area anyway. Up here in coal country, there would be hundreds of abandoned barges after TEOTW. Fortunately for me I worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The folks that run the countries locks and dams, and I know how to operate the locks and dams. From my area it's a down river ride to the gulf of Mexico or I can go overland to the Atlantic ocean.

    For me, this post is more about developing possible means of food production that could move with us in TEOTWAWKI than a means of transport or anything in normal life. Hopefully, it's just plans that are never needed.

    Dale
     
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  35. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    Good morning Dale,

    Had understood it's for a TEOTW environment. Tolls, licenses, registrations, insurance (even if war risk or anti-terrorism insurance) still need to be addressed. If not called "tolls" , "licenses", they could just be called "payments". You know I'm omitting much.

    "Abandoned barges" aren't necessarily abandoned. Plus, they'd probably be used by government agencies on a case by case basis.

    What we're doing with enhancing our first aid kits, field clothing and GOOD plans, there are other groups, both public sector and private sector, specializing in disaster recovery. I could even theoretically (I'm too old, unless they told me to get into the Osprey) be activated for my reserve billet with Office of Emergency Transportation, USDOT to manage oil delivery via inland waterways.

    Any viable water route West Virginia to the Gulf of Mexico will have the same complexion as the Dalton Haul Road supporting the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Critical infrastructure assigned to both transport routes and thus well protected in support of recovery efforts.

    If you do decide on an evac to the Atlantic, there's room for you on our Zodiac with a towed large raft. This area will probably burn and near offshore is a viable shelter area. The deep channels of the Chesapeake are for the USN - and they'll be used. The Navy Norfolk corridor, Elizabeth City, North Carolina to Ft. Meade, Maryland will be busy with movement by air, land and water.

    The national plans are ready. I am NOT saying staffing for them is ready. Prepper plans are required. If you once worked for USACE, you could be "asked" to help out. Both of us learned about helping out in RVN.

    Don't forget rubber boots !
     
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  36. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    Good afternoon Dale and all,

    Our food problem is solved !

    Today's 26 Aug 19 lead editorial in the Wall Street Journal titled "Bernie's Green Leap Forward" lists the several items he is proposing in his POTUS campaign.

    It's the smallest money item on the list - only " $ 36 billion to help people ' transform their lawns into food-producing or reforested spaces.'"

    I wish I could post the editorial but the WSJ is pay wall.
     
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  37. Dalewick

    Dalewick Master Survivalist
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    LOL!

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  38. Dalewick

    Dalewick Master Survivalist
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    I'm thinking our definition's of TEOTWAWKI are not the same. If the governments and corporations are still existing, it's not TEOTWAWKI for my definition.

    The USACE, US Army, DOD, NPS, USFWS and the USDA all gave up there right's to recall me when they listed me 100% disabled and unemployable. I'm way past my 30 years regardless.

    I'm sure there are plenty of young bucks already trained and operational with my skillsets.

    If for me there was a TEOTWAWKI and I had to leave home quickly. The Kanawha River is a hour and a half away and traveling at a good down river pace we can be in the gulf of Mexico in less than 30 days if motor vehicles aren't available. My MK18 works well from a kayak platform but to avoid use we would mostly travel at night. I just like backup plans. That's why this post.

    Dale
     
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  39. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    Good morning Dale,

    Actually, I'm using the same / similar definition. If a prepper is set up to get through a disaster-castrophe, so are some of the other categories of groups such as certain military ..... MCB Quantico is always busy now ..... the oil industry, some private sector military orgs with NGO status, the Public Health Service and related are set up (but not fully staffed) no less so than preppers and USMC reservists.

    In a Presidential Decision Directive activated to address what turns out to be a TEOTWAWKI, eliminate the basic use of the word "right". We've got 100% SCD here that have been deemed "recovered". LMAO !

    The Kanawha River is so close to the Ohio River basin I'm sure it's as restricted as the Tenn-Tom emergency waterway. The restricted areas have max protection against the unauthorized.

    Ref a kayak platform - even if just for mobility - ...... The new uniform is a HAZMAT suit with SCBA, armored or unarmored. Are we prepared ?
     
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